2015 J. J. Paine Event

In the two weeks leading up to the 2015 J. J. Paine Event, R.A.A.F. Richmond – parts of which are less than a kilometre from the Windsor Country Golf Club – reported receiving just over 280mm of rain. There was still an impressive flow of water in Rickabys Creek on Monday 4th May, but the gently undulating nature of the Windsor course meant that only the lowest parts of the layout were still holding casual water. The remainder of the course was – as usual – very well presented.

2015 J. J. Paine – Participants assembled on the 10th tee (click to enlarge)

After an excellent ‘dainty tea’ on the verandah, there were 22 players ready to face the starter. Fourteen were members of the Windsor club, two from just down the road at Richmond, two from Castle Hill, and a contingent of four from the Australian Golf Heritage Society. The gentleman’s event was contested by 16 players, and six players vied for the lady’s title.

2015 J. J. Paine – a picture of concentration (click to enlarge)

The winner of the scratch event was A.G.H.S. stalwart Tony Doggett, on a countback from Christopher Dehn, Windsor vice-president Rod Hartas, and Alan McDonald, an A.G.H.S. member whose number of hickory games is still in single figures.

The handicap section of the event was secured by John Marsden. The 18th hole is usually critical in determining the winner and John proved this when he sank a long, downhill putt from well off the back of the last green.

Margaret Graves, who thought that she had no chance of winning, prevailed in the ladies section.

2015 J. J. Paine winners (l-r) – John Marsden, Margaret Graves & Tony Doggett (click to enlarge)

Once the golfers had completed the nine holes, and lunch had been taken, Windsor captain Trevor Bartley welcomed the honoured guests, including Christopher Paine (grandson of J. J. Paine) and his wife Sue; six representatives from the Hawkesbury Historical Society including President, Dr Ian Jack, and two members of the Kurrajong Historical Society.

Rod Hartas then introduced Carol Carruthers, who spoke on the history of the Dick family which included Marion, who became both Mrs J. J. Paine in 1891, and the President of the Windsor Golf Club in 1905. Christopher Paine added considerably to the presentation by sharing additional information that only a family member could know.

2015 J. J. Paine – Putting out on the 18th (click to enlarge)

The “J. J. Paine” is always exceptionally well organised and run. The Windsor course lends itself well to hickory play, and the format of the day ensures that those participating are, in turn, welcomed, challenged, entertained, and informed. In his closing address, Barry Leithhead emphasised the role of the club golfer in creating and maintaining the history of the game – events such as this epitomise the fulfilment of that role.

South Coast Hickory Championship – 1 May 2015

Despite entrants having to endure trips from Nowra and Sydney with less than pleasant driving conditions, e.g. flood, rain & fog, 7 hardy hickory exponents fronted for the event. The course had received 9mm of rain in the previous 24 hours but was in good shape and played accordingly with greens accepting our approach shots, and requiring many repairs to the putting surfaces. The course lived up to its claim as one of the best wet weather venues on the South Coast.

KGC Hickory 2015 06
Trish Wilson, Stephen Fletcher, Andrew Wilson & Robert Jaeger (click to enlarge).

The first 9 holes, we were interrupted by a short shower but for the last 9 the weather was kinder and no rain was experienced. After 9 holes, the scoring revealed  Andrew (our host) leading with 15 points closely followed by Rob Downie on 14, and Tom Moore on 13. The rest of the field ranged from 11 to 4 with first time hickory player Robert Jaeger leading that group. A drink and nourishment seemed to affect some players dramatically with some falling back, others maintaining their scoring & one individual “firing”.

KGC Hickory 2015 01
Rob Downie, Tom Moore & Ross Howard (click to enlarge).

The second 9 holes and the checking of the cards revealed a close finish with Andrew Wilson and Tom Moore with 26 points, Robert Jaeger with 22, Stephen Fletcher with 19, but the leaders had accumulated 27.

The result at the end of 18 holes was a tie on 27 points between Rob Downie and AGHS captain Ross Howard. Between the 11th & 17th holes, a very creditable 18 points were scored by the eventually winner on countback, Captain Ross. Interesting to note that at the match in Wagga on 19th April for the Al Howard Memorial Trophy, Ross had been seconded to play for Victoria, and was defeated by Rob by 7 holes to 5.

Stephen Fletcher on the first tee (click to enlarge).
Stephen Fletcher on the first tee (click to enlarge).

So at the end of the day, the son gets to have his name engraved on the father’s trophy (Al Howard’s hickory shafted putter) at Kiama, a course Al redesigned and increased to 18 holes many long years ago. If it was Ross’ driving that helped get him over the line, it should be noted that he learnt to drive Dad’s FE Holden on this very course as it was being redesigned.

KGC Hickory 2015 03
Winner Ross Howard driving at Kiama . . . . sans FE Holden (click to enlarge).

Thanks go to Andrew Wilson for organising the event at his home course, and to those who participated. It is pity the numbers were down on previous annual events but the weather no doubt played its part in the attendance. We all look forward to a larger field in 2016.

– Ross Howard

AGHS Captain

Golf in Sydney in 1839

Alexander Brodie Spark was born in Elgin, Scotland, in 1792. He arrived in Sydney in 1823. As a merchant entrepreneur he became a wealthy and respected member of colonial society. He died in Sydney in 1856. Spark is important to historians because he was an
assiduous diarist and his diaries have been preserved. His diaries are important to golf historians because they give us the first reliable, stress reliable, evidence of golf being played in Australia. It was played on Grose Farm, land now occupied by Sydney University, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and Victoria Park. The first two entries
from the 1839 diary relating to golf are reproduced here in their original form.

Alexander Brodie Spark

The Spark diaries first came to the attention of golf historians in a ground breaking article by David Innes in 1992. Innes, however, left several questions either unanswered or only partially answered. Firstly, what triggered the start of golf at Grose Farm on 25th May
1839? Secondly, why did that phase of golf and the first New South Wales Golf Club have such a short life? Thirdly, what was the connection between those early golfers and the (now Royal) Blackheath Golf Club in London? The Blackheath connection presented the greatest puzzle. Innes reported that in 1841 Spark was made an honorary member of the Blackheath Golf Club, but he made no comment on this rather surprising event.

Grose Farm – looking east from what is now Camperdown

All the evidence points to Captain James Ferrier, master of the Lady Fitzherbert, which had an extended stay in Sydney in 1839, as the most important of the three key persons. Captain Ferrier lived in Blackheath, played golf there from 1820 to shortly before his death in 1844, was a member of the Blackheath Golf Club and on occasions chaired their meetings. Golf at Grose Farm started shortly after he began his forced stay in Sydney and apparently faded after his departure. The second key figure was John Masson, Spark’s shipping agent and close friend from their youthful days in Elgin, Scotland. He was part owner of the Lady Fitzberfrert and a cousin of Captain Ferrier. He was Captain of Blackheath in
1825 and Secretary from 1827 to 1844. It was Masson, Secretary at the time, who in 1841 informed the Club of the birth of Spark’s first son and, acting for Spark, presented the Club with the customary “gallon of claret”. It was as a direct consequence of Masson’s action that Spark was made an honorary member of Blackheath. The third key figure was Adam Wilson, an associate of Spark and a member of the Blackheath Golf Club from 1828 to 1840. In 1844 he attended the Mayor of Sydney’s Fancy Dress Ball in the uniform of a
Blackheath golfer.

The research article by AGHS Members Michael Sheret and Norman
Richardson, on which the short summary above is based, was published in the March 2014 issue of Through the Green, magazine of the British Golf Collectors Society. It is a long article with a detailed reference list to sources of evidence, the bulk of which are from primary sources. For example: the original Spark Sydney diaries, his London journal, his London letters, Blackheath GC archives, papers held at the Derbyshire Records Office, ship ownership records, the wills of Captain Ferrier and his wife Frances Dick, records fromn the censuses of England. It was a very exciting research journey for the authors.

A copy of the full article can be obtained from the History Sub-Committee

The Australasian Golf Museum in Bothwell has been asked for comment on the research detailed below and as yet, no comment has been forthcoming.